The Heat (29-22) were the NBA’s best team without an All-Star.
That non-problem has been remedied.
Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Cleveland Cavaliers forward/center Kevin Love on Team LeBron in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game
According to NBA rules, when an All-Star is unable to participate, the commissioner shall choose a replacement from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Love and Dragic both play for Eastern Conference teams. Dragic received the most voting points from NBA head coaches among Eastern Conference players who were not selected as reserves or already named as an injury replacement.
This is Dragic’s first All-Star appearance and a nice honor for someone who has been borderline deserving for so long.
But the Hornets’ Kemba Walker deserved this spot.
He’s just the better player, and he’s proving it this season. Per team possession, Walker shoots more often and more efficiently and assists more often while turning the ball over less. In these two pairs of tradeoff stats so important to point guards, Walker leads in every category.
Dragic was selected due to his team’s success. Miami is far better than 21-29 Charlotte.
But the Hornets outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions with Walker on the court. The Heat get outscored by 3.7 points per 100 possessions when Dragic plays.
Charlotte’s poor record is due almost entirely to what happens in the brief periods Walker rests. Miami definitely isn’t winning despite Dragic, but the Heat’s depth shines. It’s absurd to reward or punish a player individually for how his team performs while he sits.
There should be nothing wrong with acknowledging Miami is winning with a team full of sub-stars and quality coaching. Heck, it should be celebrated.
Just not in the All-Star game when a better choice was available.